Notre Dame History

Serving Southwest Denver for over 60 Years


The History of Notre Dame Catholic Parish in Denver

Just 65 years ago, the corner of Sheridan Boulevard and Evans Avenue no doubt looked quite different than it does today.  To anyone driving by it probably was just a piece of ordinary Colorado prairie covered with buffalo grass, some scrub weeds, maybe an old discarded tire and a couple of beat-up old wooden planks.  That driver might have looked at it and said to himself, “Nothing more than a vacant lot.”

But another driver, this time the Archbishop of Denver, Urban J. Vehr, drove by, took one look at the corner lot, and thought to himself that it could be more than vacant; it could be the home of God himself and the church of a new parish, a parish that was, eventually, to become Notre Dame .

It has taken Notre Dame Parish more than sixty years to get where we are today.  The corner of Sheridan Boulevard and Evans Avenue has changed greatly, some parts several times, and so has Notre Dame Parish.

During its more than sixty years, Notre Dame has built a church, school, a rectory and convent, but nothing it has built is more lasting and/or more important than the strong Catholic community constructed in the lives of her parishioners and throughout the neighborhood streets of Harvey Park, Bear Creek, east Lakewood, and many others.

Highlights in History

  • 1957
    • August 14 – Archbishop Urban J. Vehr founds Notre Dame Catholic Parish
    • October 13 – The first public parish Mass was celebrated at Kunsmiller Junior High School
    • October 24 – Groundbreaking of Notre Dame buildings
    • Father Koontz, founding pastor, names the parish after his favorite college football team and its Fightin’ Irish
  • 1958 – First Mass offered in the new church — Christmas Midnight Mass
  • 1959 – Notre Dame Church is dedicated by Archbishop Vehr (January 13th)
  • 1966 – Notre Dame Catholic School Opened
  • 1968 – Father Koontz broke ground on the rectory
  • 1974 – Notre Dame Builds School Gymnasium
  • 1994 – Notre Dame Church Renovation
  • 2017 – Renovation of the former rectory into parish offices
  • 2022 – Notre Dame’s 65th Anniversary! Stay tuned for events!

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My Spiritual Home

From the moment I entered the church, I felt “home.” I felt and continue to feel embraced by this parish. There’s an undeniable peace in this space and over the course of my life here at Notre Dame, my faith has been energized, especially by the care and commitment of the parish for each and every parishioner. We are “church.” I love Notre Dame!

Parishioner & Volunteer

Francey Pistono

What I Love about Notre Dame

Everything about Notre Dame Church is a blessed fit for my growing in Christ; Fr. Buelt, an excellent teacher (his style of teaching is easy to understand and digest); the deacons are inspiring; the people are gracious and spirit-filled and I am so happy to be church with them.


Mary Conditt

Coming Home

I am so happy to be at Notre Dame. I feel like I have come home. I love to attend Mass there and the staff has made my husband and I feel so welcome. The church is so "catholic" just like my childhood church. The classes I have had the privilege of attending have helped so much with my spiritual journey. I wish we had become parishioners years ago. Thank you, Lord for guiding us to Notre Dame Catholic church!


Chris Stackhouse

God Bless all that attend

I have been ushering at Notre Dame for 20 years. Over time, I've met many good people who've come through. When there's more of a variety of different people you have a better encounter of the church. Between the people and the preaching, I've learned a lot. The more understanding you get, the better you know the Lord. And that's why I Love Notre Dame. God Bless all that attend.

Parishioner and Usher

Ray Baca